Artisans of Lincoln: Materializing a Motorcar

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Not everyone sees the inside of a luxury car. Luxury drivers know that it’s not just the exterior design or engineering that matters, but also the fine details within that make a difference in the driving experience. Those people want to be surrounded by what inspires them for the most important time they spend with their car. For Lincoln, no details, not even lack of color, is an accident, not even the placement of a stitch.

Within the greater Lincoln design team, two particular women work together to help design Lincoln’s aspirational interiors in the Color & Materials Lab. Marcia Salzburg is a former fashion designer with the ability to recognize and commit to a trend. Janet Seymour is an industrial designer who has a deep love for functional sculpture. The two women, one from a world of shapes, balance, and proportion, and the other from a world of color, trend-hunting, and boundary-pushing, work together to create a cocoon of comfort, class, and inspiration – in a very small space.

In fashion, Marcia says, the competition is fierce. The call and response action of recognizing a trend and acting upon it is a quick process that requires confidence. To her, car interior designing is no different. Both industries involve color and materials that incorporate unique characteristics to produce a well-designed product that is not only comfortable and functional but also looks and feels great. Both purchases, however different in form, are an expression of personal style.

One of the biggest challenges and differences between fashion and automotive design is that the design cycle for a car is much longer. Trends must be spotted four years before they happen as opposed to only one year in fashion. Janet and Marcia travel the world searching for what will be in the next automobile and what will be valued. They absorb everything that encapsulates the senses – the pale beige of a field of wheat, the sheen of a flamenco guitar, and the warm darkness of a sunset in summertime – and formulate idea of what they want the next car space to invoke. They communicate their ideas of color to their suppliers– be it a shade of brown on the bark of a Brazil Nut tree or the deep blue of the Indian Ocean – each of them using the language of color to arrive at the desired sensation of tranquility and ease within the overall concept.

Marcia and Janet work in color labs to test, design, and bring these scenes into their designs. They work closely with the Design Concept team, constantly editing parts of the car to coordinate with the materials used to accent them. They rely heavily on the Market Research and Digital departments to listen to their customers and use their wants and desires to steer the new materials of the car. The process is not instant gratification, it’s an evolution.

Janet and Marcia excel at what they do because they know well the individuals for whom they make their product. With sustainability being of utmost importance for many modern luxury car-buyers, Marcia and Janet work to incorporate earth-friendly materials that won’t sacrifice quality.

Marcia believes that the people who are inspired by their designs are those who want to leave the world a better place. A simple act of respect for the earth, she says, can create change and inspire new trends. For these two women, their collaboration and commitment to design has created change, inspired buyers, and opened doors for the curious.

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